My parents have SUCH COOL stuff, and I personally would hate to see it go to auction with the other stuff. My grandpa's violin, vintage Tonka toys, photographs, and whatnot. Storage units are too expensive ($85/mo for a 10x20). Should I just disperse what I can through family so I know it has a good home, and take what I can fit in my own garage? What did you do?

aj, someone here on the forum gave me a wonderful idea that worked :))

Swap out some of your own furniture/items for that of your parents.

Like my Mom had some some really nice small bowls, so I got rid of my tin bowls that I use for paper clips and now use some of Mom's small bowls for those paper clips. I donated my own sofa lamps and now use my parent's lamps. Donated my napkin holder, and now use my Mom's napkin holder. You get the idea.

Keep the photographs as those come in handy should you decide to climb the family tree.
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Reply to freqflyer

Your parents have gone to a facility? One thing I would definitely not do is take anything of value to the facility, even if it’s just sentimental. If you do, make sure their names are on it and the staff is aware of whose it is. My mom would wander into other rooms and pick up random things like photo albums and little figurines and the aides and I had to figure out where it belonged. Plus, she would throw things away or break them.

When my inlaws and my mom’s things were dispersed, we had the families come in one day and decide what they’d like, including furniture. It was surprisingly civil considering my husband’s family...but anyway.

There is a site on Facebook called “Marketplace” that I sell a lot of stuff on. There, it pretty much depends on what you have and how much people are willing to pay for it. I’ve shipped things and met people and for things of lesser value, I do “porch pick up” at my home. There’s also eBay. You can also contact local museums if you’d care to donate.
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Reply to Ahmijoy

Just handing out stuff willy-nilly might not be the best idea, you have no idea who might covet grandpa's violin and who could care less, and what if more than one person wants an item?

When my grandmother's things were gotten rid of there was an auction and everyone was given the opportunity to bid on things they wanted - that sounded good in theory but in reality the younger, poorer relatives could be outbid and got less.

When my great aunt's items were divided there was a complicated lottery system which resulted in my mom "winning" a lot of crap she had no use for.

When my aunt's things were divided the family met for an amicable chat, but one cousin arrived late and found most things had already been spoken for.

As for my mother's stuff - much of it I still use, a lot of it is in my basement, some went to charity. Huge volumes of stuff went into a bonfire - that was hard (bye bye beloved teddy bears). I'm still trying to figure out how to deal with the stuff in my basement - you just don't get rid of a quilt made by your great grandmother, but I don't want to use it on my bed either 🤔
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Reply to cwillie

when my mom and dad left their home to go to assisted living. I cleaned out the house. a lot went to goodwill. other things were split between my sister and I. I didn't put anything of value in my moms AL apartment. I still have some furniture and other items because I still have the house.
my mom inherited her SIL house recently. I had to clean out the house. again my sister and I split up the contents, the remaining was sold at estate sale (and also goodwill)....and then the house was sold. I was told by my moms attorney it was ok to do as we wished with the contents. I sold the house 'as is' and the money went to my moms accounts.

um that sounded cold. but believe me it was depressing.
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Reply to wally003

Have an appraiser take a look at your parents belongings. Take photos of special items and put the photo and information into a 3-ring binder or a notebook or a Word Document on your computer so that you can keep track of where items go.

If something has sentimental value to you or other members of the family, put those aside in a special place or room so that they are not mixed in with those that you want to sell or give away. Maybe get some boxes from the grocery store or U-Haul and put the items that you want to sell or give to Goodwill in those boxes. If the Tonka toys are in good shape with little wear or tear, they could be valuable. I like Treeartist's suggestion of a special checking or savings account for the proceeds to cover your parents care in the future.

It is always sad when you have to go through someone's home and sell or donate their belongings. It is like you are reviewing their lives and seeing what was important to them. If you feel the need to shed a few tears while you are sorting your parents things, feel free to do so. I did when we moved Mom and Dad from the house that they built in 1970 to a smaller townhouse.
Take care of yourself.
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Reply to DeeAnna

Good evening, I hope that you have chosen a few things for yourself and other family members. It was sad for me and my siblings to have to clear out my parents’ house when they both entered the nursing home. These items will be comforting to you and your family now and after your parents’ death. We brought many of the smaller items to their room at the nursing home. The rest we sold in an estate sale. Some items were donated to Goodwill and some were stored in my sister’s storage unit. She has been selling these things methodically over the last couple of months. All the proceeds of the contents have been placed in a special account for their care to cover costs which aren’t generally covered by the nursing home.
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Reply to Treeartist

A reputable appraiser may be able to give you some answers. A local financial adviser may be able to help you find one.
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Reply to Cats4Ever